Red meat and red wine, there is no better pairing even when the heat of summer cranks up. The 2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva is expressive, with a nose of ripe blackberry, black cherry, and plum, a whiff of violets and tobacco round out the sensory pleasure of this outstanding value in Malbec. The raspberry and plum palate is accented with mesquite, dark chocolate, and tobacco, and the meaty character finishes long with a classic Malbec bite, a tartness enhanced by cola, licorice, and tobacco notes. This wine should be decanted for at least 30 minutes before serving to smooth out the tannins. Wine Spectator rated the 2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva 92 points and a Smart Buy, ranking it No. 36 on their Top 100 Wines of 2013. This wine is widely available, and under $15, quite the deal. Excellent with grilled steaks, the toasty character of this wine will pair well with roast chicken, and maybe even a grilled pizza with lots of sausage and pepperoni!
Serving up slabs of barbecue ribs? The 2010 Four Vines “Biker” Zinfandel can stand up to the smoke and sauce, a big spicy red with aromas of wild berries, licorice, baking spices, toasty oak, and cracked pepper. It has a good balance of acidity and tannins, slightly sweet with flavors of blackberry, plum, black cherry, and sage. This smooth Zin is a classic pairing with grilled meats and poultry, excellent with anything that has barbecue sauce slathered over it, and is available under $15 at Costco.
Grilled steak practically demands a bold, juicy Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Great American Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon by Rosenblum Cellars is a big wine, full of ripe boysenberry and black cherry, spices, cigar box, toasty oak, leather, and sage. The 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 2% Petite Sirah blend is smooth, with firm tannins and a long finish. This wine retails under $10, a great price for a pleasant wine for summer parties, and is available in local wine shops. As an added bonus, The Great American Wine Company donates a portion of its proceeds to military charities for active troops and veterans. It’s the perfect wine to quaff in honor of our military heroes on Memorial Day.
Fire up the grill, and enjoy wine that is delicious and bargain priced, all of the above wines retail under $20, except for the Château Miraval Rosé, which comes in for $21 at Costco. The Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva and Great American Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon samples were provided by Wine Chateau, an online wine store.